Message from SIG Chair
Message from SIG Chair


SIG Chair

Message from the Chair

It is with tremendous gratitude and humility that I assume the role of Chair of the Bilingual Education Research SIG at AERA for the 2020-2021 academic year. Thank you all for entrusting me with your energy and vision for our SIG. This is truly an important and unprecedented time. Indeed, the field of bilingual education research continues to make strides and advancements in research, teaching, and advocacy both in the US and across the globe. My task this year is to capture these changes for our members. In addition, I also aim to document our SIG’s past history, much like the spirit of the Sankofa—we must look back to the past in order to move into the future.

In addition to those tasks, as I write this message, we are all likely sitting in our homes facing an international pandemic of tremendous magnitude that has affected the work we do as scholars and educators. While our individual experiences during this unusual time are unique, we share the common event of a shifting educational landscape and its effect on the people we serve. I believe that it will take some time to fully understand the impact of the current context on education teaching and learning, but the immediate impacts are already being felt. Some of these include educational disparities based on geographical space (such as rurality where digital connectivity is lagging or nonexistent), race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, immigration status, and language. For instance, in our rural communities where Internet access is limited or inaccessible to our multilingual students and families, teachers have shifted from facilitating instruction to delivering critical food and printed paper packets to capture student “attendance”. In other words, for many students across the world, virtual learning is neither virtual nor learning, and this is especially true for disadvantaged and minoritized populations.

Thus, the work we will do over the next few years will be reshaped by the context in which we find ourselves and the persistent gaps in education that have become illuminated by the global pandemic. How the ‘new normal’ plays out remains to be seen, but as a group I am confident that we can forge ahead as a strong collective community.

Please join our efforts, get involved in our SIG’s working groups and awards committees, and help to promote the work we do across our multiple platforms.

I look forward to serving the Bilingual Education Research SIG this year.

In solidarity,

Chair, Bilingual Education Research (BER) SIG, 2020-2021

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